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Pep&Co pushes button on next wave of store openings

Pep&Co, the new value chain backed by South African retail billionaire Christo Wiese, is poised to open another 10 to 15 stores across the UK from autumn, following the launch of its first 50 stores last year.

Adrian Mountford Pep and Co

Adrian Mountford Pep and Co

Pep&Co’s Adrian Mountford talks to Drapers about the value fashion chain’s store rollout

The retailer, which is currently featuring in an ITV documentary series called Bargain Shop Wars, has invited viewers to make suggestions on where they should open next, and will be using the feedback to inform its retail strategy.

“We’ve already had more than 7,000 potential customers request that their town be the next to get a Pep&Co,” said managing director Adrian Mountford.

It is looking to open in similar ”secondary” high street locations for the new wave of openings but Mountford ruled out BHS stores as too big and Austin Reed stores as in the wrong locations, after both chains entered administration this week.

“We’ve adapted and improved our offer over the past few months to reflect what customers tell us they want from us,” he said. “We’re stone-cold certain we have the opportunity to now build a very strong business, giving customers close-to-home access to low-priced, great-quality fashion.”

He said the TV series is giving the brand much-needed publicity among the general public.

“We got something like 40,000 hits to the [non-transactional] website in an hour when the TV programme was on, as people were looking for the map trying to find out where we are,” he said. “Before we were getting more like 3,000 a week. Sales are up too, which is great. I don’t expect that kind of momentum to last forever but it’s great in terms of getting our name out there.”

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